Dr Wah Guan Lim

Lecturer in Chinese Studies

BA Honours 1 UNSW,MSt Oxford,MA Princeton, PhD Cornell

School of Humanities & Languages


Morven Brown 225
Kensington Campus
Fields: Cinema Studies, Comparative Literature Studies, Postcolonial and Global Cultural Studies, Chinese Languages, Literature in Chinese, Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
Tags: Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society, The Performing Arts (incl. Theatre and Dance), Languages and Literature

Wah Guan LIM is excited to be back at his Alma Mater, UNSW. After completing his B.A. (Hons 1) in Chinese Literature and Theatre and Performance Studies here, he went on to pursue an M.St. in Chinese Studies at Oxford, M.A. in East Asian Studies at Princeton and Ph.D. in Asian Literature, Religion and Culture at Cornell. Upon graduating from Cornell, he served in a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Chinese at Bard College, a liberal arts college in New York state, which he left to return to UNSW, favouring its proximity to Asia and strong research culture.

Dr Lim returns to UNSW as Lecturer in Chinese Studies and an Early Career Researcher (ECR). He works across the interstices of Chinese literature, theatre and performance, and film studies. His research examines the politics of culture and performance across the Chinese communities in East and Southeast Asia, demonstrating how theatrical performances complicate national or ethno-cultural discourse and explores the interplay between theatre and politics, cultural identity and artistic expression.

His essays and reviews, in English and Chinese, have appeared in the Journal of the Oriental Society of Australia (JOSA), Polyphony Embodied: Freedom and Fate in Gao Xingjian’s Writings, the Hong Kong Drama Review (HKDR), Singapore: Negotiating State and Society, 1965–2015, the Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese (JMLC) and Gao Xingjian and Transmedia Aesthetics. He is currently completing a monograph titled Denationalizing Identities: The Politics of Performance in the Chinese Diaspora, which focuses on four of the most important director-playwrights in the contemporary Chinese-speaking world: Kuo Pao Kun (1939–2002, Singapore), Gao Xingjian (b. 1940, China), Danny Yung Ning Tsun (b. 1943, Hong Kong) and Lai Sheng-chuan (West. Stan Lai, b. 1954, Taiwan).

His work on transnational Chinese theatre has earned invitations to guest lecture and present papers on the topic in academic symposia and conferences in London, Taipei, Singapore, Sydney, Erlangen, Hamilton (New York), Ithaca and Harvard. He was awarded the “Outstanding Thesis Presentation for Young Scholars Award” at the 10th Chinese Drama Festival (2016) — the oldest biannual platform showcasing the convergence of praxis and scholarship on theatre and performance in the Chinese-speaking world — as well as having been the recipient of external competitive fellowships such as the Center for Chinese Studies Research Grant and the Taiwan Fellowship.

Dr Lim’s varied interests go beyond his scholarly pursuits. While doing his B.A., he was a thespian with the New South Wales University Theatrical Society (NUTS), having performed in every theatre space on campus. A speaker of several Chinese dialects, in addition to Mandarin, he served as linguistic consultant to the international best-sellers Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems, by Kevin Kwan, and as a casting and script translation consultant for the production Dim Sum Warriors: The Musical, by the New York-based Singaporean filmmakers and comic artists Jocelyn Woo Yenyen and Colin Goh, produced by Stan Lai with a transnational Chinese cast that premiered in Shanghai. As a past recipient of the New College Award, he is particularly eager to learn from and contribute to the vibrant scholarly communities in UNSW and the New College Postgraduate Village, where he has just been appointed Fellow.


Teaching and Supervision

ARTS 2450 Intermediate Chinese for Non-Background Speakers A, Term 1 2019

ARTS 2451 Intermediate Chinese for Non-Background Speakers B, Term 3 2019

ARTS 3458 Chinese Capstone: Re-Visioning China and Chinese Studies, Term 3 2019

Honours and prizes

Early Career Researcher (ECR), UNSW, 2019–

Taiwan Fellowship, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan, 2019

Six-month fellowship for research in Taiwan

Research Grant for Foreign Scholars in Chinese Studies, Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

Six-month fellowship for research in Taiwan, 2019 (declined)

Outstanding Thesis Presentation for Young Scholars Award 青年學者傑出論文表現獎, 2016

The 10th Chinese Drama Festival, Hong Kong Federation of Drama Societies

Research Start-up Budget, Bard College, 2015–17

Chiang Ching-kuo (CCK) Junior Scholar Conference Attendants’ Travel, 2015

Travel grant for the 13th International Junior Scholars Conference on Sinology, Taipei

Sage Fellowship, Cornell, 2009–10, 2014–15

Full academic year fellowship

Einaudi Center International Travel Grant Award, Cornell, 2014

Travel fund for summer research in Hong Kong

Hu Shih Fellowship in Chinese Studies, Cornell, 2013–14

Full academic semester fellowship

Graduate Student Conference Grant, Cornell, 2010, 2012, 2013

East Asia Program (EAP) Lam Family Travel GrantAward, Cornell, 2013

Graduate School Summer Research Travel Grant, Cornell, 2013

Summer research travel in Hong Kong

Travel Funding, Berkeley-Stanford Graduate Student Conference in Modern Chinese Humanities, 2013

Southeast Asia Program (SEAP) Conference Travel Grant, Cornell, 2013

National Chung-hsing University Conference Travel Support, 2013

Taiwan Fellowship, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan, 2012

Full academic year fellowship for research in Taiwan

C.V. Starr Fellowship, Cornell, 2010–11, 2011–12

Full academic semester fellowship

Ta-Chung and Ya-Chao Liu Memorial Award, Cornell, 2011

Awarded to one student per graduate field of study, in recognition of excellent progress and high potential for a successful academic career

Department Summer Research & Language Study Award, Cornell, 2011

Graduate School Fellowship, Princeton, 2007–09

Full academic year fellowship

The New College Award, UNSW, 2005

The highest accolade the College can bestow on a Collegian

University Honours Year Scholarship, UNSW, 2005

Chinese Studies Essay Prize, UNSW, 2004

For the best essay in Chinese Studies in any undergraduate program

Second Class Award, China Bridge Competition, 2003

Inter-University Chinese Competition, Sydney

Bronze Award, Inter-College Drama Competition (Singapore Youth Festival), 1998


Taiwan Fellowship, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan, 2019

Six-month fellowship for research in Taiwan

Research Grant for Foreign Scholars in Chinese Studies, Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

Six-month fellowship for research in Taiwan, 2019 (declined)

Taiwan Fellowship, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan, 2012

Full academic year fellowship for research in Taiwan

Engagement and Professional contributions

Acting Chinese Program Group Convenor, School of Humanities and Languages (HAL) Welcome, UNSW, Feb 12 2019

Anonymous Reviewer, Journal of Oriental Society of Australia (JOSA), 2018–19

Initiator, Peer Mentoring Scheme, Chinese Program, Bard College, Fall 2017

Pairing up advanced learners of Chinese with beginners to mentor them in overcoming challenges faced by foreign learners of the language

Co-director, Bard Chinese Language Summer Intensive Study Program

Qingdao University, Shandong, China, June–July 2017

Linguistic Consultant, Rich People Problems, by Kevin Kwan (New York: Doubleday, 2017)

Consecutive interpreting into English, “Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series,” Bard

Can Xue 殘雪, celebrated Chinese avant-garde fiction writer & literary critic, Oct 17 2016

Acting Head of Chinese Program, Bard, Spring 2016

Initiator, Asian Studies Program planning, Bard, Spring 2016

Proposal for inclusion of texts from traditional and contemporary Asia in new itineration of College-wide common course First Year Seminar (FYSEM)

Dialogue with Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Susan Merriam, Bard, Spring 2016

College-wide proposal to improve international student experiential learning

Engagement with student leaders from the Global China Connection (GCC), Bard, Spring 2016

Advising on organization of public forum on freedom of speech

Working Group, Foreign Languages, Cultures & Literatures Program (FLCL), Bard, 2015–16

Proposal for improvement of Senior Projects by English-as-second-language (ESL) students

Linguistic Consultant, China Rich Girlfriend, by Kevin Kwan (New York: Doubleday, 2015)

Introduction to speakers, Andrea Bachner (Comparative Literature), Nick Admussen (Asian Studies), and Victor Seow (History), Cornell University, EAP–GSSC Professionalization Workshop: “Beyond the Doctoral Program: Entering the Job Market,” Sep 24 2014

Securing invitation of Associate Professor Leo Ching, Chair, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University, as keynote speaker for the East Asia Program Graduate Student Steering Committee (EAP-GSSC), Speaker Series, Cornell, Apr 24 2014

Graduate Student Lounge Committee, Department of Asian Studies, Cornell, 2013–14

Institute of Comparative Modernities (ICM), Cornell, 2013–14

Reading Group: “Rethinking Multiplicity”

Linguistic Consultant, Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan (New York: Doubleday, 2013)

Securing invitation of New York-based Singaporean filmmakers and comic artists, Jocelyn Woo Yenyen and Colin Goh, as guest speakers for the Association of Chinese and Comparative Literature (ACCL) International Conference on ‘Global Sinophonia’. Academia Sinica, Taipei, Dec 17–19 2012

East Asia Program Graduate Student Steering Committee (EAP–GSSC), Cornell, 2011–12

Brown Bag Lunch Colloquium: soliciting faculty speakers and organizing their guest lectures for the East Asia Program graduate student community on a monthly basis

Vice President, Asian Studies Graduate Student Society (ASGSS), Cornell, 2010–12

Activities Coordinator, Association of Graduates in Theatre (AGIT), Cornell, 2010–12

Volunteer, East Asia Program Outreach Program, Cornell, 2010–12

On-site interpreting into Chinese, October 15–16, 2010

Sui Jianguo 隋建國, Sculptor, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, for ‘Global Aesthetics: Intersecting Culture, Theory, Practice’ conference, Cornell University

Volunteer, Southeast Asia Program (SEAP) Brown Bag Lunch Colloquium, Cornell, 2009–13

Hasbrouck Community Council, Cornell, 2009–11

Volunteering and brainstorming constructive ways to improve community living experience at Hasbrouck graduate residential dormitory

Secretary, Asian Studies Graduate Student Society (ASGSS), Cornell, 2009–10

Conference Assistant, “Reading Christian Scriptures in China” Conference, January 8–10, 2007

Institute for Chinese Studies, Oxford University

Consecutive interpreting into English, April 1–3, 2006

“Celebratory Screens: A New Century for Chinese Film” 慶典之屏:新世紀的中國電影, by Dai Jinhua 戴錦華, Professor of Film and Cultural Studies, Peking University. ‘The Future of Chinese Cinema’ Conference. School of Media, Film and Theatre and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences I-Program, UNSW

Conference Assistant, July 13–19, 2005

14th International Society for Chinese Philosophy (ISCP) Conference with Australasian Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy (ASACP). School of Philosophy, UNSW

Consecutive interpreting into English, March 13, 2004

Richard Schechner, Professor of Performance Studies, New York University (NYU), Master Class, Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA)

Cultural Committee, New College, UNSW, 2003

Yellow Ribbon Programme, UNSW, 2002–03